What Is KeePass?

A password manager is a type of vault in which you can securely store your passwords so that you can access them when needed. 

A password manager is not centrally provided by the University of Mannheim, however, we recommend the free password manager “KeePass”.

    How can I use KeePass?

  • Download

    Step 1: Download KeyPass

    Please download the “Professional Edition Portable” version of KeePass by clicking on the link:

    https://www.heise.de/download/product/keepass-15712/download

    If needed, you can download the German language pack as well.

    Please note: Version 2.41 which is shown here may no longer be the latest version, since KeePass is regularly updated.

    After the download, please un-zip the files on your desktop.

    Please note that these files and these instructions are only for Windows systems. If you need a KeePass version for another operating system, please visit: https://keepass.info/


  • Start KeePass

    Step 1: Open EXE file

    Open the program “KeePass.exe”.


    Step 2: Enable automatic update check

    In order to receive regular notifications on updates, please select “enable (recommended)”.


  • Change language

    Step 1: Insert language file

    In order to change the language, you need to download and unzip the German language file. (https://www.heise.de/download/product/keepass-15712/download)

    After that, copy the file “German.Ingx” to the folder “KeePass-2.41\Languages“.


    Step 2: Change language in KeePass

    In KeePass you can select the German language file by clicking on „View“ -> “Change Language…“


    Step 3: Restart KeePass EXE

    Now KeePass has to be restarted.


  • Create new database

    Step 1: Create a new database

    Before you can store your first passwords in KeePass, you need to create a new database by clicking on “File” -> “New...”.


    Step 2: Select storage location

    Select the storage location and the name of the file.

    Please note: When selecting the storage location, please note that the database must only be accessible by you! Additionally, the storage location should not be the KeePass folder. This way, the database will not be deleted if you delete an older KeePass version (for more information, please refer to the section on updates).

    For employees working in the administration, a special folder will be created on the network drive. If the folder has not yet been created, please contact Mr Martin Stachniss martin.stachniss rz.uni-mannheim.de or -3181).


    Step 3: Master password

    Please choose a master password.

    Please note: Please note that the master password protects all your other passwords! Therefore, it should be very complex and long. It should at least have 12 characters and contain uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols and letters.


    Step 4: Decision on key file

    If you want to additionally protect your database (two factor authentication) with a key file, please proceed with the next section Protect database WITH key file . Otherwise, you can go directly to Create database WITHOUT key file.

    As employee in the administration you work in a secure network. In order to protect this network, potential external interfaces have been limited. Therefore, it is not possible to use a key file, since this key file cannot be backed up on an external storage device. Since the password database is securely stored in a special folder created for this purpose, a complex master password is sufficient for securely protecting the database. Please go directly to Create database WITHOUT key file.


    Tip:

    As an alternative, you can create a new database by clicking on the corresponding icon.


  • Protect database WITH key file

    Step 1: Create key file

    In order to additionally protect your database with a key file, please check the box “Show expert options:” and create a key file. This file serves as second factor to open the database. Therefore, it is indispensable that you store the key file securely. The key file must not be stored in the KeePass folder and should be stored separably from the database. In addition, you should back-up the file (e.g. on an encrypted external hard drive). Without the key file you cannot open the database with your passwords!


    Step 2: Configure database settings

    After confirming with “OK”, you can enter an individual database name including description in the tab “General”.


    Step 3: Advanced settings

    In the tab “Advanced”, you can select further settings for the master password. In order to be reminded to regularly change the master password, you can adjust the values as follows:


    Step 4: Emergency Sheet

    After confirming with “OK”, the database is created and you are asked if you want to print an emergency sheet. Please skip this step.

    Please continue with Additional security settings .


  • Create database WITHOUT key file

    Step 1: Configure database settings

    If you do not want additional protection of a key file or you are not able to use a key file, you can enter an individual database name including description in the tab “General”, after you confirmed by clicking on “OK”.


    Step 2: Advanced settings

    In the tab “Advanced”, you can select further settings for the master password. In order to be reminded to regularly change the master password, you can adjust the values as follows:


    Step 3: Emergency Sheet

    After confirming with “OK” the database is created and you are asked if you want to print an emergency sheet. Please skip this step.

    Please continue with Additional security settings .


  • Additional security settings

    Step 1: Open “Options”

    After you have created a database, you should got to “Tools” -> “Options...” to adjust the security settings.


    Step 2: Configure security settings

    In order to automatically lock KeePass when you do not use it, please check the box “Lock workspace after KeePass inactivity (seconds)” in the tab “Security” and select the value 120.

    In addition, you should check the box “Enter master key on secure desktop” when you scroll to the bottom of the window. In this state, Windows pauses all background processes. Potential malware, such as a keylogger which may record your keystrokes, is then blocked when you enter your master password.


    Tip:

    You can also manually lock KeePass by clicking on the following icon or by pressing “ctrl + L”.


  • Create new group

    Step 1: Add group

    KeePass has some predefined groups where you can store your password entries.

    Under “Group” -> “Add Group...” you can also create and add your own groups.


    Step 2: Define group properties

    Please name the group. In addition, you can change the group’s icon by clicking on it.


    Tip:

    By right-clicking on the database and on “Add Group...” you can also add a new group.


  • Edit group

    Step 1: “Edit Group...”

    If you want to edit an existing group, please select this group. Then you can change the settings by clicking on “Group” -> “Edit Group...”.


    Tip:

    You can also change the settings by right clicking on the group and then on “Edit Group...”.


  • Add new entry

    Step 1: Select group

    If you want to create a new entry, you need to select the group for the entry.


    Step 2: “Add Entry...”

    Then you can add a new entry by clicking on “Entry” -> “Add Entry...”.


    Step 3: Define entry settings

    You can then add an entry with title, user name and password. The quality bar shows you how secure your password is. The greener the bar and the higher the number of bits, the more secure your password.


    Step 4: Show password

    To see the password, please click on the icon with the three dots.


    Step 5: Let KeePass generate a password

    Besides entering the password yourself, you can also let the password generator integrated in KeePass generate a password for you. Please click on the icon with the key and the star and select “(Automatically generated passwords for new entries)”.

    In the section Create your own profile for the password generator , we explain how you can create your own profile in the password generator.


    Step 6: Disable auto-type

    Before you save the entry by clicking on “OK”, you should uncheck the box “Enable auto-type for this entry” in the tab “Auto-Type”. This way you can avoid that you mistakenly paste the password in the wrong input field where your password is visible in plain text.


    Tip 1:

    With “Drag & Drop” you can also move an existing entry to another group.


    Tip 2:

    As an alternative, you can also add an entry by clicking on the relevant icon.


  • Create your own profile for the password generator

    Step 1: Open password generator

    To create your own profile for the creation of passwords, please open the password generator by clicking on “Tools” -> “Generate Password...”


    Step 2: Custom profile

    Select “Custom” at the top next to “Profile”. You can then select your preferred settings.

    If you want to create a profile which fulfills the requirements of the User ID, you need to check the boxes for upper-case and lower-case numbers as well as digits. In addition, please add the following symbols under “Also include the following characters”: !@#$%()+=:;",.?/


    Step 3: Save profile

    Save your profile by clicking on “Save current settings as a profile”, e.g. under the name “ID requirements” and confirm your changes by clicking on “OK”. Close the window “Password Generator” by clicking on “Cancel”.


    Step 4: Select your profile

    Now you can use this profile to generate new passwords.


  • Login

    Step 1: Login on websites and applications

    To login on a website or application, the relevant entry has to be selected. By clicking on the entry with the right mouse button or by clicking on the icons you can select the next step.

    If a URL is added to the entry, you can open it by clicking on “URL(s)” or the globe icon.

    By clicking on “Copy User Name” or the icon symbolizing a person,  you can temporarily store the user name to enter it on the website.

    By clicking on “Copy Password” or the  key icon you can temporarily store the password to enter it on the website as well.


  • Update

    Step 1: Download new version

    As soon as a new portable version for Windows is available, please download this version under https://www.heise.de/download/product/keepass-15712/download and complete the first three steps of these instructions (Download, Start KeePass, Change language).

    Versions for other operating systems are available here: https://keepass.info/


    Step 2: Add your former password database

    You can add your former password database by clicking on “File” -> “Open” -> “Open File...”.


    Step 3: Enter your master password (including key file, if applicable)

    Please enter your master password. Please do also select your key file, if you have created one.


    Step 4: Confirm selection

    By clicking on “OK”, your former password database will be added to the new version.


    Step 5: Delete old version

    After that, please delete the folder with the old KeePass version. Please make sure that the database with your passwords and the key file are not in the folder.


    Tip:

    You can also add your password database by clicking on the icon.